Tuesday, November 11, 2014

4,000 posts.

Some time ago, without fanfare, without balloons falling from the rafters, without a deluge of confetti, Ad Aged and I celebrated our four-thousandth post. I guess, since as a culture we herald the arrivals of zeroes and fives, 4,000 is really not a seminal milestone. Still, it seems to me, maybe a little reflection is in order.

When I started Ad Aged, er, 4,000 posts ago, I had no idea it would become so important to me. Frankly, I started writing this blog before I had ever even read a blog. So I had no sense of right and wrong. I just tried to write about things I found interesting or important or, heaven forfend, funny.

I wasn't sure how much I was going to write. I didn't know the protocol. But what I learned is that writing is what I do, and for me, a day without writing is like a day without shaving. I feel dirty and unkempt if I don't do it.

Ad Aged started with a question. "Will Madison Avenue Become Detroit?" It's a question I still ponder. Will we slink into obsolescence and oblivion, or will we make something that people actually value and need. Since I first posed that question, Detroit--the auto industry there, anyway--has had something of a rebound. So maybe my question is moot. But Detroit, the city, still suffers and its very existence as a metropolis is threatened.

The same, I'm afraid, can be said of Madison Avenue. There are a few bright spots in the industry, but for the most part we play on the sidelines. We self-promote and self-aggrandize and masturbate publicly. In general agencies seem to care more about their own business than their clients' success.

That said, I have a fundamental belief in things, eventually, righting themselves. I believe that some agencies will emerge, that will once again understand the importance of advertising. And will once again create informative, intelligent ads that help consumers become aware of and make buying decisions.

The best agency credo I ever encountered through a lifetime in the industry was written by Carl Ally back in the early 1960s. "We impart useful consumer information in an executionally brilliant way."

That's what I believe and all the Biblical epithets of Old Testament stubbornness apply to me. I am bull-headed, stick-necked and mulish.

I realize that, in an effort to write every day, that many of my posts don't really concern advertising. However, if there's a leitmotif at all in what I write here, it's my belief in Ally's statement.

So, after more than 4,000 posts, that's what this space is about.

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